By on August 31, 2021

It’s probably exciting to be working in transportation media at a dawn of an all-new product category. Imagine the journalists in 1964 witnessing the birth of the pony car. What about those in the mid-Nineties covering the birth of the crossover – never mind, that probably wasn’t all that thrilling. I’m picturing, instead, the newsroom at The Truth About Buggies in 1884, with cigar-chomping editors looking at telegraphed press releases touting the first automobile, sending poorly-paid flunky journalists on junkets via train with a typewriter.

Perhaps we’ve witnessed our own segment birth – or, really, re-birth – with the reimagining of the compact pickup truck market. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, it would seem to anyone watching, would be the first entrant into that category. Hyundai, inexplicably, would rather you not call it a truck.

Have you ever seen those wobbly hitch-mounted cargo carriers obscuring the license plates on slow-moving SUVs – usually with a Yeti cooler and some camp chairs strapped down? Perhaps the Santa Cruz is more like that – a Tucson with a well-integrated, weather-resistant (when properly equipped) cargo carrier.

Yes, this is a second drive – Tim took the fancy junket to California a few weeks ago, where I was invited to visit suburban Detroit for a few hours.

[Disclosure: Hyundai invited journalists to drive to Detroit – most of whom live in the Detroit area – and fed us lunch.]

As Tim noted, the Santa Cruz is surprisingly nice to drive. I do agree that wind and tire noise are a bit annoying, but they’re on par with most compact crossovers. I found myself enjoying the driving experience, as 281hp can make most cars scoot. It’s supremely maneuverable, with great sightlines to all four corners and a comfortable driving position – for the most part.

The rear seat might be a concern – I’d imagine my kids, for example, will complain if we were to embark upon a four-up cross-country journey. When the driver’s seat is comfortably positioned for my 6’3” frame, the seatback causes me to broadly splay my knees should I try and sit behind myself. Shifting seating positions could be a problem – I’m reminded of a time this summer when my eldest (at 5’8”)  had to change from her softball uniform into a marching band uniform (and back) while we drove to and from a tournament and a parade. With the tight legroom in the Santa Cruz, this would have been a tough proposition.

Hyundai tells us, however, that the Santa Cruz is not focused on the family market. Rather, their target buyer is a reasonably wealthy single male living in an urban/suburban apartment who needs a single vehicle that meets his commuting needs through the week and handles his outdoorsy hobbies on the weekends. Some sort of vehicle, in other words, that handles both sport and utility. Hmm.

That bed (yes, Hyundai calls it a bed even though it isn’t a truck) looks quite useful. Made of sheet molding compound, the 52.1-inch bed (sorta – see below) is flexible, with molded recesses to create platforms or dividers from standard lumber, as well as an available rail and cleat system that gives adjustable tiedowns to supplement the standard six tie down points. The tailgate has an adjustable stop to allow long sheet goods to be supported while sitting atop the wheelwells – so, yes, you can haul a few sheets of plywood.

The 52.1-inch dimension I mentioned? Well, that doesn’t take into account the factory-installed rolling tonneau cover that is standard on the SEL Active, SEL Premium, and Limited trims. That rolling tonneau takes up a bit of room near the top of the bed nearest the cab. That said, I think the tonneau is a must-have feature. It gives secure, lockable storage – it locks with the remote just like the four doors and the tailgate – that is weather-resistant, making this a great alternative for someone who needs secure cargo stowage.  The under bed trunk compartment is weather-sealed as well – but it’s quite shallow. Best guess – if you’re tailgating and using it as an ice chest, use cans as bottles will be too tall.

And, yes. Hyundai killed the volume knob on the Santa Cruz. How they missed the vitriol thrown at Honda and others is beyond me.

I’m disappointed, though not at all surprised, that the only examples that journalists have been able to test have been the fully loaded turbocharged all-wheel drive models. I want to see the volume model – which I confirmed will be the $33,185 SEL Activity package – which pairs the base 191hp 2.5-liter non-turbo with all-wheel drive. The Activity Package (so much room for Activities!) gives the essential tonneau cover, rear sliding glass (dogs love trucks, I’m told), LED bed lighting, 115v in-bed inverter, sunroof, roof rails, and wireless phone charging. That means you have a very attractive vehicle.

At $33k, the Santa Cruz SEL Activity AWD competes (at least as a vehicle – ignore for the moment the actual TRUCK capabilities) with base 4×4 trims of the Tacoma, Frontier, Ranger, and Colorado that all sticker right around that $33k mark. A base AWD Ridgeline, however, is $37k. The Santa Cruz is much better equipped at this price point.

It’s damned attractive to me, honestly – I don’t necessarily NEED a truck, which is likely how I’ve avoided buying one for a quarter-century of driving. But a compact, garageable, parkable vehicle that can haul my family and the occasional bicycle or maybe a mud-caked tent after a weekend family excursion is appealing, assuming the price and performance are what I need. I’d probably ditch AWD, as front-drive is perfectly suitable for my driving around here.

As it sits however, the Limited AWD I drove stickers above $40k delivered – at that price, the Santa Cruz is bumping up against vehicles that are more legitimately trucks – the septet of midsizers from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC all begin to compare nicely in safety and convenience features all while maintaining legitimate truck capabilities.

The elephant in the room comes from Dearborn by way of Hermosillo. Now, we don’t know exactly how it’s going to stack up to the Santa Cruz in performance, but a nicely-equipped Maverick AWD EcoBoost Lariat works out to – you guessed it – right around $33k. An XLT trim will be lower, and the hybrid lower still.

Hyundai’s mum on an eventual hybrid Santa Cruz, though when pressed they hint that the Tucson Hybrid platform is quite similar. Draw no conclusions from that inference.

Is the Hyundai Santa Cruz right for you? It fits in weird, ill-defined niche at this point – and being the first to market, it can define that niche to some extent. I see it working beautifully for those who need a more flexible cargo space than one can get from a crossover. This will be great for the homeowner who isn’t running a load of lumber and drywall home from Home Depot every weekend – but a few boards, maybe a potted tree or flowerbush, and a bag or two of soil and mulch will be great in the back. Don’t expect to grab a ton of bulk gravel in the bed and you’ll be happy.

So many trucks, it seems, are capable of doing so much more than is typically asked of them. The eco-scolds scoff at the driver commuting to work solo in an unladen one-ton dually crew-cab – so why not buy only the truck you need rather than the one your self-image wants?

However, if you’re a truck buyer who imagines using your truck like one imagines a truck might be used, then the totally-not-a-truck Santa Cruz is probably not the truck-like non-truck for your imagined trucking needs.

[Images © 2021 Chris Tonn. Interior images courtesy Hyundai]

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96 Comments on “2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Second Drive: Truck-ish?...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    Those digits on the radio totally cool. Remind me R140. But still.. Death watch in…

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “This will be great for the homeowner who isn’t running a load of lumber and drywall home from Home Depot every weekend”

    do you know one?

  • avatar
    ajla

    “their target buyer is a reasonably wealthy single male”

    Finally, something targeting me.

    I do like this quite a bit. A half-ton crew cab “Dad truck” isn’t very appealing to me for various reasons and I don’t have the trucking needs to justify a reg cab 8ft bed set up. I do think the mid-size trucks are going to be fierce competition though.

    However, Hyundai needs to get over themselves and start calling it a “truck” and start offering a hitch+7-pin from the factory.

    I probably won’t be buying one personally unless they add 100 horsepower to it somehow, but a decent effort.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Reasonably wealthy single male would have a Grand Cherokee and a Mustang.

      Or, like my neighbor – RAM, Camaro and Harley
      Or another neighbor – Lexus IS and Eclipse convertible, totally customized.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Finally, something targeting me.”

      Knowing you as I do, I don’t think this is targeting your refined and unique tastes.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      With 281 HP and 311 TQ on the turbo model this thing is going to smoke my ’02 4.7l V8 Dakota Quad Cab.

      And if you are OK with throwing a mod/chip into your SC and using high test gas you can get that 100HP boost: https://burgertuning.com/collections/kia-hyundai/products/jb4-for-kia-hyundai-2

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Fail.

      If I were single at my level of income, I’d be haunting the Cadillac dealer trying to become such good friends with him that he’d give me his first allocation for a CT5-V Blackwing. Stick, Dark Emerald Frost, bronze wheels.

      For beater duty I’d probably have a used-but-clean GMT400.

      A CUV with a bed? Not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “at my level of income”
        “a CT5-V Blackwing.”

        Nice flex but the Blackwing is an $85K car to start and most will be kissing $100k as built. I’m sure you’d agree that plays in a different price class from a $36K Hyundai ute. So maybe half your income and pretend you go camping.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Half my income and I go camping? As a single guy, I think I’m still doing something with a bit more balls than a CUV-with-bed. I’m thinking I’d be on the list for a Bronco. Granted, everyone 15 years younger than me in that income bracket seems to be buying and modifying Crosstreks, so the ground has shifted a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “As a single guy, I think I’m still doing something with a bit more balls than a CUV-with-bed.”

            Like I said in my first comment, more horsepower wouldn’t hurt. However, I sill think the concept here is sound and the CUV bones *should* provide a better driving experience compared to BOF trucks and utility vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What did you think of the Avalanche, Dal?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Avalanche was a fantastic concept plagued by styling that was ugly even by GM standards of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I could see a smaller Avalanche type model succeeding today (and actually small truck, Frontier sized at best).

      • 0 avatar

        I think they are targeting some of my neighbors, not wealthy but higher then average incomes live alone do a lot of hiking kayaking and mountain biking. I have 4 neighbors I can think of that meet this criteria. Here is that they drive
        New Ext cab F150
        New Forester
        Newer Accord Coupe
        New Outback
        My guess would be the Accord coupe guy isn’t going for this but the other fall in the cross hairs.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      “Dad truck”? That’s a new one. Can we stop adding “dad” to anything associated with men?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It’s a nice looking lifestyle vehicle, but I still think the Maverick will be the bare bones, go to cheap trucklet

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      No trucklets for me. I’m driving a sedan until I actually need a truck. If I actually need a truck (we’re looking at towing toys), the Ranger would be the starting point.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    It amazes me that Hyundai built a better truck than Ford. This vehicle is far more mission focused than the Escape pickup. It has actual capability and the quality will be light years ahead of the Ford. No exposed screw heads in the Hyundai and the interior materials appear to be far better.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Have you actually driven either? It’s going to be hard to out-truck Ford. The Maverick and Santa Cruz, while having some similar qualities, I believe will serve different crowds. The Maverick is more for the folks who will utilize the bed more frequently as a work truck, the SC as an a cool activity vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Watch the NAPA delivery guys just eat that Maverick up

        “Hello, Ford, this is NAPA, we’d like to place an order for 10,000 Mavericks…”

        • 0 avatar
          eng_alvarado90

          Yes, I can see a couple Maverick Hybrid XLs showing up in my nearest NAPA parking lot

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “Watch the NAPA delivery guys just eat that Maverick up

          “Hello, Ford, this is NAPA, we’d like to place an order for 10,000 Mavericks…”

          Ah yes….Fleet sales are the path to victory.

          Hyundai will make on one Santa Cruz sale what For dmakes on two Escape Pickups.

          • 0 avatar
            wjtinfwb

            I agree, Ford will sell thousands of Maverick’s into fleets, both commercial and daily rental. Hyundai’s will likely show up in some daily rental fleets but very few commercial customers will be attracted. The big difference is Ford will sell a lot of Maverick’s at retail as well, by virtue of it’s low entry level price and Hybrid power. Unless you’re living in a cave, inflation and fuel prices are both very real concerns in America right now, Maverick wins by a landslide on both counts. Finally, Ford has almost 3100 dealers in the USA, with almost 300 in truck-crazy Texas. Hyundai has 800 across the USA. The math makes it clear, Maverick will dominate the sales race.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            The Santa Cruz is well executed for a niche market (think beach) and they deserve credit for that. The Maverick will have broader appeal.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            The Maverick will dominate the sales race because its production capacity is more than double that for the SC.

            Would say that Hyundai would win the margins race, but since the Maverick is built in Mexico, Ford will do more than alright there, so that leaves ATP for the SC.

            Plenty of Americans (college educated white collar workers) doing fine in this economy, esp. if they have investments in the market – who want something a bit more upscale in this new segment than the Maverick.

            But Hyundai better get to adding the hybrid ASAP.

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            bd2; “so that leaves ATP for the SC.”

            Does anyone pay anything near sticker price for a Hyundai? BF got his Elantra at the beginning of it’s model year for $3,500 below sticker.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    The problem with these pseudo mini trucks is that you have a vehicle trying to do two things and it does neither very well. The backseat is cramped because of the wall separating the passenger compartment from the “outdoor trunk”. The truck bed, if you want to call it that, is ridiculously short and nearly useless and you can’t carry anything long – like a 2×4 stud. What’s better than this stupid abortion? Almost any little SUV, like your typical Honda CR-V or Hyundai’s very own Santa Fe. Now you can configure the same space for cargo or people and carry long items within the vehicle, securely and out of the rain. These things look like fun but they’re nearly useless in the real world. They’ll sell to people who don’t need them for anything other than basic transportation so, indeed, they might sell a bunch.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Almost any little SUV, like your typical Honda CR-V”

      But that does not have 281hp or the ability to tow 5000lbs.
      The Santa Fe offers the 2.5T but rest of the spec sheet doesn’t really stack up.

      • 0 avatar
        ScarecrowRepair

        It can carry a stove, fridge, washer, or dryer. It can carry a few bags of mulch, as said, and the wheelbarrow to distribute them. It can lock up a couple of bicycles if you remove the front wheel. And the cover locks and keeps out the rain. I for one do not enjoy trying to get a window seat in a restaurant where I can watch my bicycles after a ride.

        This looks a lot more practical for a lot of people than any mid-sized pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        Merely because it will tow 5000 lbs doesn’t negate every other disadvantage. I mean hey, buy one, I’m not stopping you. But that back seat is severely compromised because of the immovable barrier between the cabin and the bed. You don’t see a lot of vehicles like this because they’re not practical and they never have been, Hyundai hasn’t discovered anything new here. No innovation.
        And you’re far more likely to want to bring home some lumber that will be sticking out a window, leaving the bed empty, A few bags of mulch, a bbq pit, a bicycle, a big TV, a few plants from the nursery will all fit in your SUV. An SUV is simply a more useful vehicle because the same space can be converted to multiple uses by folding the seats. I know, I do it all the time.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          I owned a SUV once and it turned out that the hatch space is not that usable due to the opening size/shape and the fact that anything put back there better not be messy unless you’ve got some Weathertech mat in place. I find the small bed is much better for my needs.

          Since getting rid of my SUV I’ve managed way better with a Ranger and a Dakota for decades and never once wanted to go back to having my cargo ride with me.

          • 0 avatar

            I have to agree as some one who has owned a lot of SUV’s and a few trucks, I really find the truck more useful in most hauling situations. The SUV can do it but it tends to be awkward. Things like taking a load of brush to the dump or construction debris are so much easier with the bed. Hauling fire wood also much easier. I have lined the inside of my SUV’s to do it but it’s not the same as being able to just throw it in.
            Power equipment is another one, Snow blowers Push leaf blowers, lawn mowers all ride much easier in a bed.
            I have been with out a pickup of my own for a decade and the combo of SUV and utility trailer gets it done but not as conveniently as having a bed.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “And you’re far more likely to want to bring home some lumber ”

          What do you think I’m doing in my free time?

          I don’t haul 2x4s or drywall and I rarely carry people for long distances, but still carry passengers often enough to want a back seat to exist. The appeal of the SC to me is that it can tow an InTech Horizon while putting firewood/dirty things in the bed. Then when I’m not towing it should be more enjoyable to drive versus a BOF midsize truck and the bed can be a plastic trunk.

          I don’t think Hyundai is expecting it to sell in giant numbers but I do think there is a niche here.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          You’re right that you do compromise max length in any given space. In a similar length SUV, you’d have cargo capacity all the way from the front seats to the tailgate, if you need it. And better passenger room when you need that.

          What you gain, is unlimited cargo height. For lots of larger stuff, that’s a biggie. Furniture (non-flat-pack) can be tied down upright (I hauled an honest-to-goodness 1500lb 7 ft tall gunsafe in a pickup once….. Man was I worried about my tiedowns in turns…).

          Motorcycles (although the bed on this looks short, even with the tailgate down. Snowblowers, mowers, or just big boxes: Having unlimited headroom, and a folding tailgate increasing cargo length to even well beyond the end of the truck if need be, does allow it to haul things no SUV can.

          Of course, even a small cargo trailer behind an SUV is even better, if you only haul big, awkward stuff occasionally. But if you do it “all” the time, especially in denser areas with more limited parking, this could well be a better choice.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @Imagefont:

      The 22 Tucson – on which this is based – has a much larger back seat than the 21 Tucson. But then the Santa Cruz wiped out those gains in an effort to lengthen the already short bed. That compromise disappoints me.

      As you point out, my old minivan has all the utility I need, including the ability to haul 4x8s or even longer pipes, etc, with the hatch closed.

      I’m past the family stage of hauling people, but I still haul stuff. As tempting as this vehicle is, I might pass and just keep the old van running.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Rear seat room is no worse than the midsize pickups.

        Can fit an average size female behind an average size male driver.

        TruckKing even managed to fit 2 mega-sized infant seats in the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, this much is for sure: Imagefont isn’t buying a Santa Cruz.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “…their target buyer is a reasonably wealthy single male living in an urban/suburban apartment who needs a single vehicle that meets his commuting needs through the week and handles his outdoorsy hobbies on the weekends…”

    I guess the bed transforms this Tucson from a mommymobile into a guymobile.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I believe “guymobile” is Hyundai’s marketing angle, along with cool skater/surfer chick or rock climber girl. They are trying to steal Subies outdoor adventure market.

      Personally it checks all the boxes required to replace my aging Dakota. My man card is fulfilled by my C7 Z51 and I’m happily married, so scoring points is no longer a concern of mine.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    I think even in metro areas, the Maverick is gonna do better. Price versus the traditionalists is definitely one consideration. We’ll see.
    Hyundai’s dedicated the plinths at their HQ along the 405 freeway to this thing, so it seems they have high hopes for it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think this will sell, but I think the Maverick will sell in big, big numbers. If nothing else, the Maverick will ride the coattails of the F150, and those coattails are LONG.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        The Maverick also looks more truck like and that’s essential. A more upright driving position and, critically, easy ingress and egress – not stepping up high or getting down low, just stepping across. This is a big selling point of small SUV’s, people like to sit upright and see out better. Cars these days fail at this with their very steep windshields and more difficult ingress/egress. The Maverick looks the part, it will sell, unless Ford “bait and switches” everyone.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          I agree the Maverick will sell better as looking like a truck appeals to many. But the Mav is also just a CUV with a bed like the SC here so on paper they are not that different. The Mav’s main advantage is MPG with the hybrid and price on the low end.

          • 0 avatar
            Imagefont

            I’m interested in the Mav for two reasons: price, if they can and will deliver a usefully featured vehicle in the low $20k range, and economy with the hybrid drivetrain. The FWD Mav’s hybrid drivetrain is its killer app. These things make it a very different vehicle than this rather more expensive and less economical Hyundai.
            In the end it’s always about the Benjamin’s.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            While the Maverick looks more like a traditional truck, it looks like one of those econobox small pickups from the ’80s, but worse with that dorky headlight design.

            But it’ll sell based on price and Ford basically being a truck brand nowadays.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Hybrid and price is Maverick’s killer app. We’ll see how it does. I still like it better, the square dimensions and proportions. You see it and you know it’s a truck.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        In terms of powering and towing its less truck then SC.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Right, but it looks “truckish” and it’s a Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Agree on so many points.

            1. The Maverick will greatly outsell the S.C.
            2. Even Ford haters will grudgingly admit that Ford does a good job selling pickups. That will carry over to the Maverick.
            3. The Maverick looks more like a truck.
            4. Hybrid and much lower price point will also help the Maverick. Particularly in Canada where I firmly believe that Hyundai has grossly misread the market.
            5. And yes a minivan has much better utility/capabilities than either. But minivans are now a diminishing niche market.

        • 0 avatar
          Imagefont

          With the turbo 2.0 and 4WD the Maverick tows 4000 lbs vs the SC’s 5000 lbs., with optional 4WD. Not a meaningful difference.
          And do you want to two 5000 lbs with a 4WD SC and a 2.5 NA 4-cylinder engine? For that you might want the turbo and now it’s getting very expensive, you have other options.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Not a meaningful difference.”

            I disagree, that’s 25% and can easily be the difference between a fixed wall trailer and a open/popup.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      Selling better in Metro areas is pretty much a given for the Maverick due to the Hybrid powertrain which the SC lacks.
      I can see the Maverick being a best seller in big cities.
      And my opinion may prove unpopular but I like the interior of the Maverick better than the SC. It just looks more rugged and that’s my pick for an outdoorsy, truckish kind of vehicle.
      SC inetrior looks great but I’d be worried about throwing my tools or stuff in it and scratching door panels and upholstery

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    It isn’t targeting me. I’m single and financially secure but live in my own house and need a truck to be a truck. Parking space is never an issue even with my one son’s 5 vehicles in the driveway and my other son with his own truck.

    • 0 avatar

      I think that’s where the urban thing comes in. My urban/suburban driveway fits 3 cars 4 in a pinch, with my son getting his license soon it will limit the extra car space, one of many reasons a multi functional car makes sense.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Its sail panels guarantee commercial failure, ala EL Camino, Ranchero, Baja, Ridgeline, Avalanche, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Right, Chevy only got 23 years out of the El Camino. Why’d they even bother?

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      A better executed version of the old Subaru Baja was the first thing that crossed my mind, as well. Honestly, I’m kind of bummed they (or anyone else) still haven’t went with an updated version of the old Chevy Avalanche mid-gate that opens up the rear seat area to the truck bed. It was the defining feature of that one. If only the Avalanche hadn’t been so damned big.

      It’s been said that in the auto business, timing is everything. Whether the Santa Cruz quasi-trucklet is a success or not depends in large part on exactly that. I suspect that it will either be a big hit or a big failure with little room in-between.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’m a reasonably well-off single male living in a suburban condo, and I don’t want this. If they’re going to all-but-admit that the rear seat isn’t very useful, they should have made it like the prototype – extended cab, suicide rear doors, six foot bed.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I do think a clamshell cab with a little more bed would have been a reasonable trade off.
      The goal should have been to have a better backseat than an extended cab midsize truck but they kind of ended up at a weird midpoint.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Not a fan of the interior switchgear for climate control and infotainment. Prefer the execution of the Santa Fe.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    These are cool, but why choose this over a Ridgeline?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Size and price.

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        The santa cruz is 14 inches shorter and 3 inches narrower. To get an engine comparable to the honda and awd the santa cruz is over 35 grand msrp. My son paid 30 K plus TTL after discounts for his Ridgeline EX-L just a year and half ago. I know prices have escalated on everything like crazy but assuming inventories return to normal by summer 2022 I wouldn’t be surprised if the ridgeline was a better deal by then. The ridgeline offers comfortable room for 5 adults and a more usable bed and trunk the the Santa Cruz with very little size penalty. Plus the AWD system is amazing in slippery conditions.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “but assuming inventories return to normal by summer 2022 I wouldn’t be surprised if the ridgeline was a better deal by then.”

          I would be *very* surprised if Hyundai can’t beat Honda on price if incentives/discounts return to pre2020 levels.
          There is no such thing as a Ridgeline EX-L any more. The cheapest one is the Sport AWD which starts at $36K,

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I also expect the SC to be quicker and better handling on the road compared to the Ridgeline, although there aren’t any instrumented tests of the Hyundai yet to see if that is the case.

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            On the SC forums we have a confirmed 0-60 in 6.4 from an owner using an Aim Solo timer.

            You need to move up to the RTL Ridgeline to match the SC’s power seats and tech features. At that point they are basically the same price. I’ve never been a fan of the RL’s styling, inside or outside. The RL does have the better bed and tailgate setup. Personally I’d rather have the low torque offered by turbo on the SC.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            6.4 is a little slower than I was hoping for although that is only a single data point. We’ll see what the magazines manage.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Motor Trend got 6.3s, so figure C/D to get something close to 6s.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Dear Hyundai,

    The fact that Ford will let me put either of it’s engines in any of the trim levels makes it very likely that I would pull the trigger on buying a Maverick before a Santa Cruz. This is despite the fact that I like the Santa Cruz’s car like appearance and features better.

    I’m a potential buyer for a Maverick XLT with turbo and AWD OR a Santa Cruz that doesn’t exist. A regular SEL with turbo and AWD.

    Thanks,
    Suburban Dad

    • 0 avatar

      Another Suburban Dad and same. While I’m not normally a new car buyer I’m getting closer to pulling the trigger given the used market but I would want AWD and the Turbo for around 30K, Ford offers it but Hyundai does not. In my case I’m willing to give up the comfort and luxury features to get the turbo, but not sure other would be.

      I think the market for Dads (or moms ) to want this is high. In reality kids are often moved in one of the parents two cars more often then the other. If this car is the one used for commuting it would be fine. While I do love having a big back seat for kids in my current car, in reality it gets used about 10-15% of the miles the car is driven and most trips with kids in the back are under 10 miles (dropping kids of at school or picking them up from their grandparents.)In which case this makes a lot of sense.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Price, hybrid powertrain, a bed that is a few inches longer, being able to get an interior that was not black, and the fact that I could easily configure the truck I wanted on Ford’s website were determining factors for me in ordering the Maverick over getting a Santa Cruz. I like the Santa Cruz but with Maverick there is more selection and better mpg made downsizing to a smaller truck from midsize more desirable otherwise I would keep my Ranger or just get a base Tacoma. I would prefer a longer bed and an extended cab but I can make the Maverick work for me.

    I don’t really need AWD since my wife’s CRV has it and even with AWD and retiring soon if the weather is too bad I will not be driving. I like 40 mpg for driving in stop and go traffic where I do most of my driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @JeffS: when is your expected delivery? In Southern Ontario/Toronto region I have been told to expect early summer 2022, even if you place an order in the next few weeks.

  • avatar
    agroal

    Based solely on how cheaply and half-baked Ford did the Ranger, I’d take the Hyundai. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxcMEl0Ak3c

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The Ranger was based on the Global Ranger and it was based on the prior Generation of the Global Ranger and at that time a new Generation Global Ranger was introduced. Ford took its time to rerelease the Ranger in North America and more was expected of it. The Ranger should have been the new version.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      There is no such thing as a newer gen Ranger offered elsewhere. North America has what the ROW has other than the powertrains and some trims.

      The US Ranger was launched on a 6-7 yr old platform, I’ll give you that but this is still par for a segment where a generation stays the same for about a decade.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I considered a Ranger before moving onto the SC. They both have similar HP and TQ power levels and rated well over my 2,500lb tow right (boat + trailer). The problem with the current Ranger is for some reason Ford jacked the thing up to F150 height. I guess this is because that brodozer lifted look is what most people want, but not me. I had a Ranger Splash before and prefer my trucks more street sport based vs 4×4 off roader. Also many Ranger owners report poor ride quality. I believe this is due the global platform. It was likely built for rougher roads and always carrying a load.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Arthur–I ordered on July 22 and the dealer told me the soonest my truck would be delivered is the end of the year but to expect Spring of 2022. Ford is suppose to send me an email just before it is made giving me the date it will be made and the VIN. Just read on Ford Authority and some other sites that the Ecoboost versions will be given the priority because there is a shortage of the 2.5s going in the hybrids–60% Ecoboost and 40% hybrids initially. I ordered an Area 51 (grayish light blue) XLT with the gray and navy interior, spray in bed liner, tray floor mats, and full size spare tire. I was told to not order the front and back mud flaps because those would cause a delay in the manufacturing (I will buy those after I take delivery and probably put those on myself along with the side window deflectors. Total price out the door will be slightly below 26k which includes tax, title, licensing, and less my $500 deposit and $500 Farm Bureau discount.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Joe Diffie were driving this in the 90’s and stopped to pick up Bobby Joe Gentry (The Homecoming Queen), I don’t think she’d have gotten in.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    She would have jumped off the Tallahassee bridge like Billy Joe but she would have written an Ode to Billy Joe before the final jump and then forded the River.

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